What Youth Ministry Can Learn from Debate (Into)

Yes – I love them!

I love teens. 

Other than being a mom, my passion in life is working with Christian teenagers. I have taught youth at church for 25 years and coached or taught Christian homeschool teens speech and debate for 15 years. 


Some of my greatest blessing in life have come from working with teenagers and being a part of their growing process. As my students move out of my hands and into the world, I see bright young people who love the Lord and are excited to conquer the world. Many ARE conquering the world. 


Three of my greatest blessings!

I tell you with great pride that I have influential students. I have students who are in full time ministry- locally and abroad.  I have many students who are involved in politics at some level. I have students who have written books, students who have produced movies, students who are national conference speakers, students on the radio and on TV, students who are working to end human trafficking, and students who are influencing the next generation by being stay at home moms and teachers like myself. In all these areas of influence these students are standing strong for the Lord and are society’s hope that we will continue to be a Christian nation. 

Some of my greatest disappointments have come from pouring my heart, soul and time into teens and seeing them live a life apart from God. These teens walked out the front door of the church when they were 18 and have not yet returned. Some of them are struggling and sad, but the majority, live what others call the “American Dream.” They may appear successful and happy, but their success will be burnt to ashes because it is not for the glory of God. 

From my 25 years of experience and from my observations, the first group of students who are living to make an impact on society were my debate students, the group which has fallen away is my church students.

From my experience I’ve found

ONLY

2 out of 10 Church Youth Group Students continue serving God after high school

BUT

9 out of 10 Debate Students continue serving the Lord!

                                   
My experience correlates with recent statistics on teens who drop out of church and walk away from their faith – I don’t believe, however, any studies have been done on debate students
                                
This totally and completely breaks my heart.  I have cried out to God so many times, “What am I doing wrong? Why is the church failing to build a lasting faith in it’s students?” Then I realized I was asking the wrong questions, “What is home school debate doing right? How are they building students who make a difference for Christ? What can the church learn from debate?”

 What’s the difference?

There is not one answer, especially not a simple one. After much prayer and research I’d like to delve into these questions and discuss some of my answers in the next few blog posts.
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